You have to believe, against the scornful trumpeting of your intellect, in the miraculous ability of form to create itself out of chaos. You have to hold the line through all the wretched days, months, even years that you spend not writing – doing anything but write: “wasting time”, indulging in displacement activities, wandering about pointlessly, biting people’s heads off, seething with anxiety and self-reproach. You have to believe that you’re preparing the ground for something to manifest out of the darkness, to present itself, to be born. Having already gone through this process countless times does not help. You forget, every single time, that it’s coming at you. The anxiety, the self-reproach are always total, unremitting, inescapable. You have to submit to it, allow yourself to suffer it, right to the end.
How melodramatic it sounds. Almost laughable. But every writer I know would recognise that description, and shudder.
So perhaps, after all, it would be a relief if it never came to me again, that sharp little secret arrow. Do I really miss it, or am I glad to be spared? Will I be spared?